The warmer weather has brought along the trees, as more buds are swelling and starting to pop. The Red Maples are the first to have pushed out early, tiny leaves.
And then just two days later, they are already exhibiting the familiar structure of the maple leaf.
The lake is still high, and the outlet flowing rapidly; the streams emptying into the lake are full and wide. The high sun and open canopy allows more light to penetrate than during any other season, which aids in warming the ground, fostering the growth of the new plants.
And my now good-friend, the garter snake was out enjoying the sun again as well.
Watching the surface of lake I noticed little wakes being made by small animals, thinking at first it was a snake, but soon realizing there too many of them and their travel pattern wasn't consistent with a Water Snake. So I took my first kayak trip of the year to investigate. They were made by an insect about half an inch long, which I think is the Water Boatmen. I couldn't get a picture but here's a photograph of a Water Boatmen from the North Carolina State University web site.
|Water Boatmen (NCSU photo)|
Continuing along the shore of the lake, taking advantage of the high water and lack of pond weeds, I saw many turtles sunning themselves wherever a spot providing good exposure. This log had six or eight turtles all lined up it, which I didn't notice until I heard them splooch, splooch, splooch, one after another into the lake.
I identified a new shoreline plant that is blooming around Lake Wicwas. This is known as bothLeatherleaf and Cassandra, and is an evergreen member of the Heath family. It is responsible for much of the deep red and maroon color that appears all along the shore of the lake in the late fall when its foliage turns.
|Leatherleaf or Cassandra (Chamaedaphne calyclata)|
|Pond Lilies Sprouting from the Lake Bottom|
The flycatchers and song birds are arriving in large numbers now; I watched a group of them doing acrobatics as they feasted on bugs over the water, and the raspy call of the Phoebe is heard frequently.
Last night I captured a picture of a fox; it still had its bushy winter coat on.
I suppose it is still cold in their den, and with nighttime hunting, a warm coat is in order for a little bit longer.
Back up at lake level I came upon the male Wood Duck in the cove near its nesting site. No sign of mom - she's at home working at the nest. I'm sure dad is out finding her something special to bring her for a mother's day treat!